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Landscaping Studies

Very Large Scale Wave Energy Generation - Landscaping Study


  • Project Lead

    Wave Energy Scotland Ltd

  • Author

    Ove Arup & Partners Ltd

  • Date

    December 2018

This report describes a study commissioned by Wave Energy Scotland (WES) into the potential of very large scale (10MW+) Wave Energy Converters (WECs). The study aims to quantify opportunities associated with very large scale wave energy generation and provide recommendations for the future approach to its realisation.

For the purposes of the study, large scale wave energy generation was defined as a WEC with an energy rating of 10MW in line with established offshore wind capacity. Three possible large scale WEC configurations were considered:

  1. Scaling existing individual WEC types;
  2. Grouping normal scale devices on a shared structure; and,
  3. Development of a novel large scale WEC.

The project was undertaken in three stages.

  • Stage I considered the entire WEC landscape through a developer survey and literature review.
  • Stage II quantified the potential opportunity and limits associated with scaling the most common WEC geometry types.
  • Stage III comprised a more detailed opportunities assessment, focused on cost-effective and practical large scale WEC configurations identified in the previous stages.

The study considered a range of existing device types but as-yet unknown alternatives may exist with greater energy performance at a large scale. Future research into individual devices with more energy scaling potential is recommended.

The study highlighted that an optimum device size exists based on a CAPEX/MW metric which was found to be in the range 2-5MW for the WEC devices investigated. Research to identify the optimum size of other existing devices, which is likely to be above 1MW but less than 10MW, would also be of value. The benefit of grouped devices would be enhanced by further development to reduce technical risk. The study also revealed evidence of grouped devices being commercially unfeasible at demonstrator stage due to high costs associated with early deployment. Development of a roadmap for funding, commercial and logistical deployment of large scale WECs is therefore recommended.

Project Keywords: CAPEX, OPEX, Yield, Control, Structure, Cable, Installation, Moorings, Operations & Maintenance, Performance, Lifting, Vessel, Array, Point Absorber, Landscaping, Foundations

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